Our perceptions have not kept up with the improved quality of portable wines
Is there good wine that comes in packaging other than bottles? That was the question I wanted to answer, and tried to answer in this earlier article. The portable wine scene has changed since that 2010 article was posted.
I was mostly interested in portable wine for outdoor dining and picnics but even on a picnic it can be a little unsettling to have someone pop open a can and hand it to you after you’ve asked for a glass of wine. It’s time to overcome your preference for wine served only in glass bottles.
Wine in a can is served very well because aluminum can’t absorb light and oxygen the way glass bottles with corks can. Aluminum is also more recyclable than glass, more portable, less expensive and non-breakable. A recommended brand is Underwood from Oregon and they have Rosé, Pinot Noir, sparkling and Pinot Gris. They also have a one-of-each four pack. A four-pack is $28.00.
A great sparkling wine in a can is Sofia Blanc de Blancs mini from the Francis Coppola vineyard. It is refreshing and fruity. The single serving cans chill quickly. They only have 11.5% alcohol. Each can is equivalent to ¼ a bottle. $20.00 for a 4-pack.
Wine in a box is a more familiar alternative to the glass bottles. Bandit NV Cabernet Sauvignon from California rates an 84 by Wine Enthusiast. It is reported to be ‘light and earthy’. Their Chardonnay also rates 84 points by Wine Enthusiast. Its fruity flavor is balanced by crisp acidity, making it easy to enjoy. They are the reigning favorites currently for boxed reds and whites. They use earth friendly packaging. One Liter is $9.00 and 500ml is $6.00.
Bota Box Pinot Grigio & Pinot Noir are California wines that offer medium body and clear, crisp flavors. They use green packaging and soy based inks. $18.99 a box.
Wine in a bag inside a box really is a bag of wine inside a box. The bag has 3 or 5 liters (4 or 7 bottles worth), is small and lightweight. As you use the wine, the bag shrinks to fit around the remaining wine, thus protecting the wine from oxidation. This allows for longer shelf life. This one, Viña Borgia is a red, Spanish Garnacha, from the Campo de Borja region. It’s praised for fresh aromas and lean tannins. It gets 87 points from Wine Enthusiast. This 3L box is around $20.00.
The Wineberry bag in a box keeps wine from light and air. It prevents oxidation and keeps the wine fresh. They sell Bordeaux, Burgundy, Provence & Rhone wines. $47.00 for the equivalent of 4 bottles.
Wine in a Tetra Pak is very popular in Europe. A Tetra Pak is a foil-lined carton that tops the recyclable list. They are also cheaper to ship than bags in boxes, so the price tag is a bit less. Nice to spend your money on better grapes than packaging! The Fuori Strada wines from Italy are highly recommended. The Sangiovese is from Tuscany and is organic and vegan. The Grillo is from Sicily and also organic and vegan. These wines are intended to be consumed while young. A 1L Tetra Pak sells for around $12.00.
If you really have fussy friends, turn your back to them and pour their wine into lovely looking plastic wine glasses.